My yard has no less than five squirrels at a time dining on various delectable fare all day long. They have a lot to choose from with the feeders fully stocked. They have taken to pulling out the lilies and iris from the pots and raiding the compost bins. But all is not well in Squirrelville.
A while back, Gilbert was attacked by a hawk and I was sure he was a goner.
Hawk that missed a meal, waiting on my fence for another opportunity.
I went outside and he was in the tree having a drink of snow.
The American Kestrel on the left was on display by the Humane Society for Earth Days at a local university. I was there for the Master Gardener’s to answer questions. This girl kept leaving her perch and landing in front of me on my table. I included this image because the bird below was in my yard and I think they are the same type.
American Kestrel having a dove for dinner in my yard this winter.
The image below does not show his wound as it is on the opposite side, but you can see the talon marks on his hind quarter. This image was right after the attack. Poor guy is really disheveled and in bad need of a stiff drink. Gilbert did not return for so long, I was sure he did not make it.
But, he now has a new nemesis. I did not know what kind of bird it was and Donna from Gardens Eye View told me it was a Grackle. I did not know Grackles eat seed so I was surprised. There are three of them that have taken over my yard as their personal territory and are seeing to it that no birds can nest here or squirrels can feed here.
They destroyed a robin’s nest in my Japanese Lilac tree, bit by bit and drove the robins away.
Now they have their sights set on the squirrels. But the squirrels have numbers on their side and keep the Grackles on the wing. Yet, they still say a prayer before climbing the pear tree, the main point of attack.
I find it a bit humorous that the squirrels run from them. After all, they are no life threatening hawks. Gilbert actually stayed the battle and almost fought to the death with his hawk. They fought in the pear tree as branches were flying.
The squirrel that the Grackles are most interested in happens to be Gilbert. Poor guy has had a tough year. The wind destroyed his nest in the pear tree last Fall and rendered him homeless, and he was almost dinner for the Red-tail.
The squirrels are have a rough go of it and I can not say I mind having a few birds on squirrel patrol. Here is another one saying a prayer before he goes down to get a snack.
But they are doing their best to rid the yard of all squirrels. I have been looking for a nest of baby grackles, but have not found one yet.
Odd thing too, there are three grackles, not two. Makes you wonder what is going on in Grackleland.
Below you will see the daily skirmish. All day long this testing of the wills goes on.
All the creatures are on edge, any wonder any of them get a meal.
See the grackle chasing Gilbert who is flying through the air on the fence?
If he climbs the pear tree, they go after him in the tree, just like what happened with the Red-tail. In the video, another squirrel is running along the fence from the Grackle. All the action happens so fast, I did not get much of it in the video. When the grackle disappears over the fence, he is in hot pursuit of the squirrel.
In the less than a minute video, Chipper, the chipmunk scampers up the Shepard’s hook right to the feeder. He is a cutie. And a few sparrows get some seed, after all, it is BIRD SEED.
Please check out Green Apples for another pest in What’s Bugging You?